Alle-Kiski Valley wrestling notebook: Burrell's Beattie, Kiski Area's Kuhn could meet for fourth time in two seasons
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The entertaining wrestling rivalry between Kiski Area senior Shane Kuhn and Burrell junior Al Beattie might end at the same place it began — the Westmoreland County Coaches' Association tournament.
Kuhn, the defending WPIAL Class AAA heavyweight champion, owns three wins over Beattie, who claimed the 2013 heavyweight WPIAL title in Class AA. But Beattie has come closer to victory in each rematch.
The first encounter in the series occurred at Franklin Regional High School, where Kuhn pinned Beattie with 37 seconds left in the first period of their WCCA finals bout.
Kuhn, a two-time county champion, and Beattie, a two-time placewinner, do not yet know their seeds in the 2014 WCCA tournament, which begins at 5 p.m. Friday and concludes Saturday night. But they'll likely receive the top two spots, as they did a season ago, so a fourth matchup between the two would occur in the finals.
“I honestly don't like wrestling him that much,” Kuhn said. “My style doesn't work with his style. We're both physical, and a lot of times, it just kind of ends up being a standstill.”
In their most recent bout, which happened during the Kiski Area-Burrell match on Dec. 19, Beattie allowed a reversal early in the second period but tied the score at 2 with a takedown in the third. Kuhn used a Granby roll to get another reversal with 6 seconds left in the bout and won, 4-2.
“I'd love to see him in the tournament,” Beattie said. “He's a really good kid, and I feel this time may turn out differently. I also feel he'll get me ready for matches later this season. … I have to work him harder in the first period. I've got to get a takedown early and work off that.”
Relax and rebound
The last time Burrell senior 152-pounder Steven Edwards stepped on the mat for a bout, he felt so woozy and out of sorts that he barely understood what happened when Altoona junior D.J. Hollingshead pinned him to end their Powerade Christmas Tournament quarterfinal-round match.
Edwards, the No. 4 seed in that tournament and a returning medalist, forfeited his ensuing consolation match for health reasons and left Canon-McMillan High School disappointed.
A title-winning performance in the WCCA tournament would represent an optimal rebound for Edwards, who placed second in the county each of the last two seasons.
“I'm just trying to stay confident right now,” said Edwards, who is 8-2. “Ever since (the Powerade tournament), I've been talking to all my coaches, and we've just discussed things like staying relaxed and just trying to do everything right.”
The last two seasons, Franklin Regional wrestlers stood in Edwards' way at the WCCA tournament. Josh Maruca beat Edwards in 2013, and Josh Shields topped him in 2012.
Shields, who won the Powerade title at 152 in December and placed third in PIAA Class AAA at 145 last season, likely will enter the county competition as the 152-pound weight class' No. 1 seed.
With one of its strongest rosters in years, Valley might see its individual title drought at the WCCA tournament end.
Kyle Dudley, the winner of the 189-pound weight class in 2009, is Valley's most recent champion. Dudley also is Valley's most recent finalist with an appearance in 2010.
The Vikings' list of title hopefuls includes senior 126-pounder Pat Dewitt (11-0), senior 182-pounder Terrell Fields (10-1), senior 195-pounder Marcus Davenport (11-2) and sophomore 113-pounder Jihad Ratliff (10-2).
Dewitt placed fourth at 126, Fields took fifth at 182, and Ratliff placed sixth at 106 a season ago.
Riverview is in the midst of a rough patch, as it lost its first eight dual meets before beating Woodland Hills, 18-15, Jan. 3. But Raiders junior Ken McKeag has emerged as a reliable bonus-point provider: He is 4-0 with three pins and a major decision.
Just as impressive, two of his wins came in 138-pound bouts, one came at 145, and one came at 132, which is McKeag's normal weight class.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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